More than 12% of people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna are young people under the age of 24. That’s why our Rapid Rehousing and Housing First for Youth (HF4Y) programs are geared to meet the needs of young people aged 16-24.
What is HF4Y?
We know that young people have their own unique and distinct needs. That’s why we are implementing the Housing First for Youth (HF4Y) program in Kelowna. HF4Y is a youth-specific adaption of the traditional Housing First model.
HF4Y is designed to address the needs of young people by providing them with access to housing, and the necessary and age-appropriate supports that focus on health, well-being, life skills, engagement in education and employment, and social inclusion.
Rapid Rehousing & HF4Y
Both Rapid Rehousing and HF4Y are designed to support youth with finding and maintaining housing that is safe, affordable, and appropriate, as well as provide youth with supports that focus on wellness and social inclusion. HF4Y and Rapid Rehousing both share a Housing First philosophy, but they have some key differences.
The HF4Y program will work with young people with high levels of risk factors on a no time-limited basis, whereas the Rapid Rehousing program will work with young people with more moderate levels of risk factors on a time-limited basis.
HF4Y Core Principles
HF4Y is based on five core principles (see ‘Youth Homelessness Streams of Service‘ for more detailed info):
- A right to housing with no preconditions
- Youth choice, youth voice and self-determination
- Positive youth development and wellness orientation
- Individualized, client-driven supports with no time limits
- Social inclusion and community integration
CMHA Kelowna has adapted these programs for our community. Youth who are referred into both programs are triaged and prioritized by a youth community table. Youth in the program are assigned a case manager who works with the young person to develop a case plan and to meet their goals.
Youth Choice and Self-Determination
Housing First for Youth isn’t just about housing – it’s about giving young people the skills to thrive. This means it goes beyond, to focus on building confidence, relationships, health and resilience. It means that we ensure young people have access to a range of supports that enable them to nurture and maintain social, recreational, educational and occupational activities.
We know that youth are experts on what they need and should be in control of their own lives. That’s why we include their ideas, opinions and knowledge into the work. From creating case management plans all the way to program development – young people are included throughout!
When we talked to young people with lived experience of homelessness what some of their challenges were, they described the social exclusion and isolation they felt.
That’s why Housing First for Youth emphasises strengthening family and natural supports, friendships and meaningful relationships – in whatever that means to the young person!